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The Story of Daft Punk

by Arad Javaheri
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Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo met in 1987 while attending high school in Paris. They quickly bonded over movies with their favorite being the Phantom of the Paradise. The main character of the movie is disfigured and wears a helmet most of the movie. The duo fell in love with all aspects of the film, the music, production design, and art. Many believe this is where they got the inspiration for the robot helmets.

Before Daft Punk, the duo were in a band called Darling with future Pheonix guitarist Laurent Brancowitz. The band began to see some success but after a harsh review by Melody Maker magazine calling their music “dafty punky trash” the duo split from the band to pursue a more electronic sound. Around the same time, the duo went to their first rave and the experience changed their life. They were used to going to rock shows to hear their favorite tracks but DJs were able to provide a different experience to their audience every time they played. Thomas and Manuel fell in love with the underground scene and saw it as a musical revolution that they wanted to be a part of.

They started working on electronic music in Thomas’s home studio but the duo still needed the name. Going back to that hard review Daft Punk was born from the ashes of Darling. In September of 1993, they played their first demo for Sumo records. By the summer of 1994, Sumo records released their debut EP the New Wave which took over the underground scene.

Major record labels began to take notice and offers were rolling in. The duo picked Virgin Records as their partner because they allowed Daft Punk to own their own masters. As interview offers poured in, the duo needed a more permanent way to conceal their faces as becoming stars was never their intention.

On September 9th of 1999 at 9:09 in the morning, a horrific accident happened in the studio. One of their samplers exploded in the studio and when the two men woke up they were transformed into robots. The first draft of the helmets featured controllable lights and a big backpack to house the batteries totaling a cost of $65,000 ($102,000 adjusted for inflation).

Daft Punk’s sophomore album was the 2001 Discovery. This record featured more disco and synth pop-infused sounds. Sampling songs from the 70s and 80s generated hit songs such as Hard Better Faster Stronger and One More Time. 2005 saw the release of album number three Human After All which added a rock and minimalism influence. Although the album saw mixed reviews it was still nominated for a grammy and saw hit songs such as Robot Rock and Technology.

Coachella 2006 Daft Punk changed the dance music industry forever. The debut of the iconic pyramid changed the expectations of dance music fans all over the world. The LED revolution was begun and Daft Punk took nearly all available LEDs in the country to power their pyramid.

Today marks the end of a 34-year journey of Daft Punk that revolutionized our world. We will forever be grateful for their brilliants and look towards young artists to carry their torch.

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